Bruce Duncan – 4th Place overall
The Atlantic Coast of Ireland.
Stunning Croagh Patrick mountain, with the glorious Clew Bay full of amazing islands right in front of the town.
The sunset was fantastic over the bay.
The forecast for Saturday was to improve.
The cloud lifted to show the full peak, a striking cone of loose rock at the top.
After a pasta feed, getting my kit sorted I set my alarm
We drove to the start at Glassilaun Beach.
Finally standing on the beach, eyeing up all the opposition
As the gun went, people took off at a heck of a pace,
After a tough hour of running we arrived at the kayaks
I had pulled up to 5th after entering the water in about 20th place.
The run to the road was perfect for me, baby heads and boggy ground
Entered the bike transition in 5th place.
A super fast transition enabled me to get out with Tom O’Dowd in first place.
I stuck to his wheel
The cycle started well, till the first hill.
I was dropped straight away, and couldn’t get back to either of them after the tight tricky descent.
I gave it everything and got onto their wheel, and again worked with them to catch the 2 leaders.
I was dropped again on the fire road climb, but kept in touch as best I could before we hit the mountain.
The top section of Croagh Patrick is really steep and loose, and I didn’t enjoy it much.
Pushing on as fast as I could, knowing that there was still a chance to get into the top 3.
Taking in the stunning view from the chapel for a split second I turned and ran as fast and in as much control as I could on a technical loose descent.
I had no idea of the best line down, so I just ran back the way I came up, following the line of folks coming up the hill.
Concentrating on my line and staying on my feet, but kept going as fast as possible.
I knew I had to get to the bottom very close to them to have any chance of making the top 3.
I ran the really rough section, mainly to not puncture,
but also as my thumb was very sore when holding tightly on the bumpy ground.
The tarmac road was pretty rough too, with tight corners and gravel to keep you focused at the end of a very tough race.
The last section was lovely, passing by the clear sea water, and finally seeing the finish line.
It was tough passing right by the line, especially as Peter was just coming in to cross it as I went past!
The last run was tough, tired legs on rocky ground is always fun, but I took it easy and was very happy to cross the line in 4th place, only 5 minutes behind the winner.
It had been a fantastic race.
Very fast and full on, but great to be so close, and the lead chopping and changing all the way to the finish.
I was incredibly happy with how I had got on, if someone had offered me 4th place on the start line I’d have more than happily taken it.
It was nice to see that I could battle right up at the front, but not surprising that I couldn’t quite topple the top 3, all very experienced in this race, and the shorter distance.
For me, it really was a bit of a sprint race, I’d have liked it to be 4 days longer!!
I have had a brilliant weekend over in Westport with Gaelforce West as my hosts. It is a stunning location for a multisport race, very dramatic and rugged. The town really does embrace the sport, which is so great to see.
The event was brilliantly run, all the transitions were really smooth and slick, and the course was signed very clearly.
A fantastic effort from the team to put on a race that not only really tests the elite, but is achievable by all the competitors.
A huge thank you to Ciara and all the team at Gaelforce Events for inviting me over for the weekend. I loved the race and the fantastic hospitality, it was great to meet a bunch of new people, and hopefully I’ll be back over to Ireland soon to enjoy some more of the fantastic events on offer.